We went behind the scenes at Derbyshire dairy to find out more about the cow-to-cone journey

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Bluebell Dairy has been producing luxurious ice cream from their micro-dairy in Derbyshire for more than 15 years.

During that time they’ve racked up countless Great Taste Awards and are stocked in National Trust properties across the Midlands.

So when an email landed asking if I fancied popping down to their farm, in Spondon and try their treats, I certainly didn’t need to think twice.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

I enlisted the help of our photographer Brian – an ice cream purist who thinks rum and raisin is as adventurous as it comes – and prepared for what was guaranteed to be a good day.

Bluebell Dairy has been run by the Brown family for decades but their ice-cream journey began in earnest in 2007 as milk wholesale prices continue to fall. This prompted a conversation around the kitchen table – quite literally – when the family decided to have a crack at making their own ice cream.

15 cows, each producing around 20 litres of milk each day, graze in the fresh air at the front of the farm with the entire manufacturing process being done on-site.

The family has recently invested in a robot milker – introduced this year – which brings hi-tech insights into the milking process. The actual milking takes place in the rather glamorously named Cow Palace – a place in which Brian and I came unstuck as we had neglected to bring wellies.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Fortunately the wellies were provided for us and being able to view the technology up close was a real eye-opener. Ella Brown, who had been guiding us round the farm, explained that whilst it didn’t make the milking any quicker it gave them far greater insights around the health of each cow as well as data on the milk that was being produced.

Rosemary Brown, director at the dairy, added: “Ensuring our cows have the very best life is incredibly important to us, upgrading our milking facilities is just one of the ways we are able to do this. Not only does this mean our cows are able to be milked whenever they need, it also means visitors can see first-hand how cows are milked.”

Once the milk is aged and pasteurized it can then be turned into delicious ice creams. Each flavour goes through rigorous taste testing and is made without the use of artificial favourings, colourings, or preservatives.

To celebrate Halloween the dairy will be launching the brand new Sour Apple ice cream whilst Deathly Mallows will make a popular return. And visitors to the farm itself will be able to get their hands on an exclusive Pumpkin Spice ice cream.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Having been guided through the meticulous process that goes into making every batch of ice cream, myself and Brian then got the delight of sampling the goods.

I, a little greedier than Brian, was tempted by the mango sorbet, devilishly chocolate, amaretto and black cherry, blueberry, sour apple, and a vegan salted caramel cookie dough flavour.

Brian had double vanilla and said it was very tasty.

I would go a tad further and suggest it is the best ice cream I’ve ever had (and, as someone that grew up on the south coast for the first 22 years of my life, that’s quite a statement).